In 1853 she married Daniel Patterson on his assurance that he would provide a home for her son. Patterson soon reneged on that agreement - the first of many broken promises. Despite their mutual affection, the marriage deteriorated.
Mary’s young son George Glover was being cared for by the Cheney family in the small rural town of North Groton, New Hampshire. To be near her son, the Pattersons moved to North Groton. But ultimately the Cheneys moved to the Far West, taking the 11-year-old “Georgie” with them. The boy would not see his mother again for more than twenty years.
To support his semi-invalid wife, who was often bed-ridden, Patterson bought a half interest in a saw mill on their property in North Groton. The enterprise came to nothing but debt. By 1860 the saw mill and their home were foreclosed. The couple were forced to move on. A rented house in Rumney offered shelter for a year or two, but her husband was often away from home.
Finally the Pattersons landed in Swampscott, Massachusetts, on the outskirts of the thriving shoe-manufacturing city of Lynn. They occupied a second-floor apartment on Paradise Road. There, in 1865, Mary B. Patterson was at the brink of a great turning point for herself and many thousands of others.